Young ukulele players from South Tyneside wow Queen's birthday audience

Two young ukulele players from South Tyneside were given the royal seal of approval when they performed for the Queen.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 25 April, 2018, 06:00

James Bassett, 14, and Tai Steehouder, 12, stole the show when they took part in the Queen’s Birthday Concert at London’s Royal Albert Hall on Saturday.

They even put on a show for at Kings CVross Rail Station on the way home.

James Bassett, right, and Tai Steehouder performed at the Queen's birthday celebrations.

The talented pair from South Tyneside were two of three young ukulele players from the George Formby Society who were asked to perform at the event - which was broadcast on live TV.

They played alongside a 40-strong group of the society’s members - who were joined by comedian Frank Skinner, TV presenter Harry Hill and former Chancellor Ed Balls.

Her Majesty is a big fan of Formby - and said to have once had desires to be a patron of the society.

Harton Technology School pupil, James, from Walworth Avenue, South Shields, is a member of the George Formby Society and has been playing the ukulele for a number of years.

James Bassett, 14, and Tai Steehouder, 12, on stage at Londons Royal Albert Hall.

Last year he was featured on ITV1’s Little Big Shots with Dawn French.

James said: “I just thought it was going to be amazing and it was.”

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The event marked the Queen’s 92nd birthday and also featured performances by Sir Tom Jones, Kylie Minogue and Sting.

St Wilfrid RC College pupil Tai, from Stanhope Road, South Shields, started playing the ukulele last year after receiving the instrument as a Christmas present.

James Bassett and Tai Steehouder perform at Kings Cross.

He has been receiving lessons from James and also attends sessions of the George Formby Society.
James’ mum Lisa said: “It was brilliant and they were really great. James had been on TV before, but it was Tai’s first time in front of such a big audience.

“We went down on the train together to Kings Cross on Friday morning and they had a rehearsal on Friday evening at a studio in London.

“The they went to the Royal Albert Hall on Saturday morning and spent the whole day doing dress rehearsals.
“It was an amazing experience for them.”
The fun didn’t stop there as the youngsters and other members of the society performed an impromptu concert at Kings Cross station on their way home.

Lisa added: “We watched them back stage at the Royal Albert Hall and it was amazing. They thought it was fun and really enjoyed it. We are so proud of them.”

James Bassett, right, and Tai Steehouder performed at the Queen's birthday celebrations.
James Bassett, 14, and Tai Steehouder, 12, on stage at Londons Royal Albert Hall.
James Bassett and Tai Steehouder perform at Kings Cross.